13 December 2015

Highest ever count of Pied Kingfishers in Saudi Arabia – Sabkhat Al Fasl

As mentioned in a previous post there appears to have been a significant influx of Pied Kingfishers into the eastern part of Arabia in late October and early November 2015 with birds seen in the United Arab Emirates, Qatar and Kuwait as well as Saudi Arabia. In Saudi Arabia there was a single female at Sabkhat Al Fasl 23 October increasing to a minimum of ten 7 November. Numbers at the site then appeared to decrease with a maximum of four seen over the next month until 4 December when Phil Roberts and I saw at least 12 birds. Twelve birds together is the largest gathering of Pied Kingfishers seen in the Saudi Arabia at any one time and indicates that an unprecedented number of birds have passed through the region in recent weeks. The high count may indicate birds moving around the region trying to find suitable locations as many birdwatchers have been to Sabkhat Al Fasl in recent weeks trying to photograph the birds and not seen anywhere near this number of birds. On the other hand the site is very large and dense and birds could hide away easily, so they may have been there all the time and just not seen.